Ed. board, March 9

Do economy airlines do passengers a disservice?

More stories from Faith Hultman


Last Wednesday, March 1, a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Las Vegas had to divert to Los Angeles after a passenger complained about the cost of a blanket, according to an article in the Leader Telegram.

A dispute between a 66-year-old male passenger and a flight attendant led to the unscheduled stop. While officials say the man did not make a credible or direct threat, he did state he wanted to “take somebody behind the woodshed,” after being informed a blanket cost $12, according to the article.

The man was not arrested, but passengers were confused as to whether the flight would be continuing and bought tickets before they were told they would be allowed back on the plane.

The Spectator editorial board convened last Thursday to discuss whether airlines do passengers a disservice.

The first speaker disagreed that this instance was a disservice to passengers, but agreed  disservices are often perpetrated in airports.

“It is important to make passengers feel safe, so it’s better safe than sorry,” the speaker said. “However the people at the front desk at airports do a lot of disservice to people. Terrible service. I don’t got beef or nothing.”

Another speaker agreed the airline was doing its best to keep passengers safe, but said there were other issues with the story.

“I have noticed that flight attendants aren’t always incredibly customer-oriented,” the speaker said, “and I think it was an incredible disservice that they didn’t alert the other passengers on the plane.”

Another member said more details on the situation were needed before coming to a conclusion.

“Was it $12 to rent the blanket or to buy the blanket? Because $12 is pretty cheap to buy a blanket, so I don’t see what the guy was complaining about,” the member said. “ I would like to dig deeper into the logistics of this blanket purchasing before I judge this man.”

One speaker said the airline may have been doing the man a service, not a disservice, if the cost of the blanket was $12 to buy and not to rent.

“I understand that they were trying to take this threat seriously,” the speaker said, “but it was a crotchety 66-year-old man complaining about a blanket, so I’m not sure the threat needed to be taken as seriously as it was.”

The Spectator editorial board voted 4-2 in favor of whether economy airlines do passengers a disservice.